Oxygen levels drop to historic lows along West Coast

The California Current, which normally carries nutrients southward along the West Coast, is growing deadly for slow-moving animals such as crabs and sea urchins.

Researchers are finding little or no oxygen in coastal waters along the Washington and Oregon shorelines, according to a news release from the NOAA Fisheries Service.

“We’re now seeing low oxygen levels that are much more widespread and far more intense than what has been recorded in the past,” according to William Peterson, one of the researchers and an oceanographer at the NOAA Fisheries Service’s science center in Newport, Ore.

“The fish have simply moved out of these areas and are probably doing fine elsewhere,” said Peterson. “But animals that can’t move to better waters like Dungeness crabs, sea urchins and starfish will perish.”

In a paper published in the journal Science, the team of researchers say low-oxygen conditions seem to have arisen since 2000 and now are so severe that few fish are living along rocky reefs that normally offer prime habitat.

5 thoughts on “Oxygen levels drop to historic lows along West Coast

  1. At this rate we won’t have to adjust for our fish…we won’t have any.

    These are the waters the team of misguided folks want Lolita to smother in…polluted.

    These are the waters Kitsap County does its best to REALLY pollute further.
    Easy…they give variances to allow new homes within 10′ of the high water mark.
    The general homeowner use of legal poisons for their yard … the pesticides, herbicides…car washing chemicals, household use of clorox and such…none of it can be filtered by more than 10′ of soil before the poisons dump into our waterway.
    100 ‘ of soil filtering was deemed not needed.
    Kitsap County…what are you doing?!

    Maybe the thought is that our waters are so polluted now, more won’t matter.

    Sharon O’Hara

  2. Making the jump that the low oxygen levels recently occurring in the ocean are caused by long time pollution by waterfront homeowners is a large one indeed. Why does this not hold for the ocean off the coast of California where there are way more residents living along the water?

    Since the lowest oxygen levels in Puget Sound seem to be around the south end of Hood Canal from time to time, maybe it is the home owners there that are the prime causes of the problem off the coast of Washington and Oregon.
    The oxygen levels are cause for concern and study. I sometimes think that humans feel they are so important that they can control and be responsible for all that happens to the seas, air, flora and fauna.
    I suggest we don’t try to hack at the problem with a machete, but with smart bombs after narrowing in on the target…if there is one besides God.

  3. Toxins poison our fish and on up the food chain…to high toxin levels in our whales. It is considered a problem…or so I’ve read here.

    I’m surprised you don’t see the difference between a vast moving and churning ocean and our comparatively small and calm Puget Sound waterways unable to disperse toxins as easily.

    The subject is our Puget Sound toxic waterways poisoning our sea life.
    Folks living along a vast churning ocean coastline are a world away from the influence of toxins used along our Puget Sound Waterfront property.

    God doesn’t pollute anything but gave us the brainpower to do it to ourselves.

    He also allows us the option to become aware of our environment and make needed changes or to ignore or dispute facts and proofs…our choice.

    God is aware and may well weep at some of our decisions and non actions.
    In my opinion… Sharon O’Hara

  4. Sharon,
    It is sincerely nice to hear your passion!

    I was referring to the low levels of oxygen, not toxins. The article was about the ocean water(that churns) and not Puget Sound, so I was addressing that.

    I agree that God may weep at some of our decisions (and our foolish actions as well) in trying to atone for what nature, vs humans, has caused. I think it important to find out whether things are nature caused or human caused if we have limited resources to deal with the problems.

  5. Tom,

    I agree we need to know what causes our environmental problems…or any problem, for that matter, before we can fix it. Limited resources or not.

    I can’t comment on oxygen levels in our waterways, but look forward to learning more about it.


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